Jeremy Whitley sees his long-running story in Princeless ending in the next few years, but the future is bright with "a whole world of new possibilities."
The penultimate arc of the main Princeless story begins August 28 with Princeless Book 9: Save Yourself, but at the same time Whitley and publisher Action Lab Entertainment are raising funds via Kickstarter for a hardcover edition of Book 3 aimed specifically at libraries - which the writer said is the franchise's most-prized market.
The ongoing story of Adrienne Ashe, the princess who saved herself - and ended up on a quest to save her sisters, fellow princesses themselves. After their individual stories were told in the eigth arc, "Princesses," Princeless Book 9: Save Yourself follows Adirnne has she stands up to the Black Knight and returns to Castle Ashe to meet her destiny.
Whitley spoke with Newsarama about the future of Princeless, the pursuit of younger readers through libraries, and his plans for more creator-owned work in the future.
Newsarama: Jeremy, you've been writing Princeless for about a decade. How has the series grown and changed for you as a writer during this time?
Jeremy Whitley: Well, it started out very simply. The first issue almost all takes place in and right outside Adrienne's tower. The original concept is about a girl seeing a world that wants to hold her down and fighting back against it. It starts off as “the princess who saves herself,” but over the past eight volumes, it's gotten so much bigger.
We've built a whole new world around it. We've created an entire spin-off series which now has just as many issues as the main series. The series is about so much more and so many more characters and life paths than when it first started.
Nrama: How much more do you feel is in the Princeless saga at this point?
Whitley: Oh, that's a tricky question. I feel like this particular saga that's been going surrounding Adrienne, Bedelia, and Devin since volume 1 will be wrapping up in Volume 10, but that doesn't mean that I'm out of stories to tell.
I just think at that point we'll have characters who have succeeded in what they set out to do and have a whole world of new possibilities.
I don't see Princeless going anywhere, just becoming something a little different...or maybe several different things.
Nrama: You're currently in the final days of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to publish Book 3 in hardcover. You already released the book in softcover - so why go to crowd-funding for this re-collection?
Whitley: Unlike a lot of Kickstarters, we're not asking you to help fund something that isn't done. We're making hardcovers of a volume that's already been produced in softcover and it just takes a lot more money up front to produce something like that.
We're hoping people will view this as either a chance to pre-order the hardcovers, get caught up with volumes they've missed, or to get new Princeless comics and merchandise that has never been available anywhere else. The book is already made, there's no risk, we just need your help to pay for the printing.
Nrama: So why hardcover then?
Whitley: That's a great question as, as I mentioned, we already have the book out in softcover. The thing is, being an all-ages comic with a message of reaching a diverse young audience, there is no market that's more important to us than libraries. In libraries we have a chance to be a kid's first comic or to reach kids that might not have the money or comic shop to go get the book in stores.
And when you talk to librarians, their number one complaint about trade paperbacks is that a number of them don't last more than a few check outs. Kids are rough on books. Dropboxes are rough on books. Trade paperbacks aren't built to sustain the kind of abuse they do in a library. So, if we're going to reach this audience and help librarians do the same, hardback is the format we need to be using to reach them.
Nrama: Having been to a few library sales, I can attest to trade paperbacks getting worn out quickly – that’s an interesting insight into what it takes for publishers to get into the library market.
So outside of Princeless, what else is going on for you?
Whitley: Well, Future Foundation, Princeless, Raven: Pirate Princess, Marvel Comics #1000, Rainbow Brite, and Sea of Thieves: Origins are the only projects that I have announced right now, but I'm actually hard a work on a few projects which may not be announced until this fall, but that I'm hugely excited about.
If people have been waiting to see what my next creator owned project is going to be, they should keep an eye out.